NATIONALIST People’s Coalition (NPC) will not support death penalty just yet even if the party already signed a coalition deal with presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP)-Laban that regards the restoration of the capital punishment as a priority.
Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, the spokesman for the NPC, noted that they are backing discussions on the revival of the death penalty, but they are not committed to a favorable vote for it now.
“For now, our position is that we are willing to give it (death penalty) a chance to see the light of day in Congress. We are willing to subject it to debates…for it to be discussed by the members of Congress, because we don’t know to what degree the death penalty will be imposed,” Enverga told The Manila Times.
Duterte won an overwhelming mandate of 16 million votes because of his bold promise of drastic change by killing criminals, as well as killing those resisting arrest, to eradicate crime in three to six months. He later backtracked that he can only suppress it.
NPC, on the other hand, is the second largest political party in the country headed by food and brewery tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.
“Would it be for drug traffickers; for heinous crimes? We are yet to identify the magnitude of the crimes that will be punishable by death penalty. If the proposal takes shape, then we can consult among each other if it would be helpful for our country in terms of maintaining public order and safety,” Enverga pointed out.
The Philippines abolished the death penalty for heinous crimes in 2006.
“Before [in 2006], we had no party stand on the matter. It was left to the choice of the of the NPC members during that Congress. But now, it is different because there is an overwhelming majority of people in favor of President Duterte and his policy [on death penalty]. That says so much about the sentiment of the public so we want to give it a chance to be deliberated,” Enverga said.
“But as of the moment, everything is vague. Until we see the final version, we can’t decide. For now, we want it deliberated upon so we can also hear the opposition to it,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the NPC committed to support the Duterte administration and its policies through a coalition agreement signed by the leaders of both parties.
“This is to support President Rodrigo Duterte and congressman Pantaleon Alvarez as the next Speaker of the House. It binds as well the entire apparatus of the party in support of their programs,” NPC president and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said.
PDP-Laban president and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, underscored that the NPC-PDP-Laban coalition will manifest beyond the ceremonial signing of documents.
“The legislative agenda of the President could be captured and determined in these phrases: support for federalism, all-out search for peace; all-out war against crime, drugs and corruption; expansion of the middle class; tax reform, addressing the concerns of the common man and inclusive growth, so that economic growth will be felt at the lower level. We expect the NPC siding to this core legislative agenda which are not objectionable,” Pimentel said.
“This is not a cosmetic agreement. This is based on substance. As the President of the NPC mentioned, this is a support not only for the personalities but also to the agenda of President Duterte. Maybe the NPC can start adjusting their perspective on federalism, give it a chance to be adopted,” he added.
Alvarez of Davao del Norte declared that the restoration of the death penalty is as good as done.
“We will be going for the reinstatement of death penalty, definitely. I am confident that it will be passed,” he said.